I have a favor to ask.
While I'm not a huge jewelry person in general, I do really like my James Avery store and catalogs. I realize that only a few states have these stores, and I'm pretty fond of mine. For a few years I've been collecting charms for my charm bracelet and I have a necklace or two of theirs that I wear fairly regularly.
I've had my eye on this silver charm for a couple of years:
I want to get it in memory of our babies that we never got to meet on earth.
Here's where you come in. I was thinking of getting something engraved on the back but I have no idea what. It seems like an overwhelming decision for me. Of course there's always the option of skipping the engraving and just having the charm and knowing in my mind and my heart what it commemorates. But if you've got suggestions I'd love to hear them. I know you know this, but just to repeat the information, we have lost six little ones between the years of 2002 and 2007 to early miscarriage. We never did name any of our babies that we lost, simply because we thought it was too hard emotionally, especially once the number of losses started growing. I don't know if the back of the charm would be large enough to list out six dates, or if that would seem too impersonal. Anyway, I figured you guys are probably far more creative than I am, so I thought I'd take some suggestions. Any ideas?
My charm bracelet currently holds other things that mean something to me. It has an S for my initial, a "little sister" charm from my sis, a cross for my faith, a book for my love of reading, a "precious aunt" charm, a wedding charm that my husband gave me for our 10th anniversary, and a few other things that reflect who I am.
But I don't feel like it's complete.
Of course you can't quite tell one's whole life story from a charm bracelet. There aren't a whole lot of charms out there to mark the hard times and the struggles that shaped you into the person you are. Should this baby be the one we'll get to bring home (and every day we feel more and more hopeful that it will be), I don't feel right about adding baby shoes or a tiny silver baby carriage until I've recognized another very important part of my journey.
My heart does remember. It remembers every positive pregnancy test, every dream and wish for a baby, every moment that we found out it wasn't to be, every tearful, sleepless night, every doctor's appointment where we felt hopeless or hopeful. My heart remembers that, even now while I walk around with an ever-growing belly, I desperately want others who may just see me as a pregnant woman to know what my story is. I didn't get here on the express train. I had to hike, on foot, up a very steep and rocky path. I felt every bump and bruise that I picked up along the way, and that has made me all the more grateful for where I am. It has nothing to do with feeling like I've earned it, but it has everything to do with simply wanting people to know that I have a story to tell.
I have to say, too, that it has made me feel kind of bad for the times that I passed someone with a protruding belly out in public and didn't even want to look their way. Seeing that was sometimes pretty painful for me, and understandably so. When you are hurting and grieving, there are some things that are really hard to face in that moment. But the truth is that I didn't know their story. I didn't know what kind of struggle they'd been through to get there. (And, by the way, I'm not at all suggesting that pregnancy should only be granted to those who have struggled. I'm very thankful that so many of my family and friends were able to have their children with no complications and few setbacks!)
Last weekend my husband and I went to a wedding here in town. (Two of his co-workers were getting married to each other.) I didn't expect to know very many people, but when we arrived, we found a few familiar faces in the room and sat at a small round table with a guy my husband knows from work. His wife was also there, as was their young daughter. I had met the guy before but had never met either of the girls. We introduced ourselves and made small talk during the reception. It wasn't long before they shared with us that they are expecting their second child. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to do at first. Typically, this would be a pretty awkward situation for me. Even with the knowledge that I was 13 weeks into what appears to be a successful pregnancy, I was afraid that it would be yet another situation where we would be bombarded with baby talk and have absolutely nothing to add to the conversation. Oh, we've been there so many times before!
But that night was different. Instead of holding back and putting my guard up, I decided to tell them where we are even though our news is still not "out there" at my husband's work. And do you know what? It turned out that they had a story, too. They had suffered loss both before and after their daughter was born, and are now expecting a son. It reminded me that everyone does have a story to tell, whether it resembles mine or not, and whether our struggle is similar or totally different. And it reminded me that sometimes when I open myself up and be honest about where I've been, it invites others to do the same. They probably wouldn't have mentioned their history with miscarriage had I not mentioned ours. I might have thought that we were totally different when, in fact, we had quite a few things in common.
Just as her heart remembers her babies and her story, my heart remembers mine.
Just an update for you:
Our first OB appointment is scheduled for Monday afternoon. We're almost there! Feeling nervous, but hopeful. I'll be 14 weeks tomorrow -- have officially entered the second trimester! As always, I'm so thankful for all of your prayers!
Please leave any suggestions for what you think would be a good engraving for the charm in the comments. Thanks!